Friends of Jesmond Library: Creative Writing Competition

image 
Wednesday 19th October 2016

Today’s Guest Post about the Jesmond Library Creative Writing Competition is from the lovely Victoria Watson of ElementaryVWatson:

Missuswolf - Poetry

In 2013, Newcastle City Council announced it would be closing several libraries in a bid to reduce costs.

One of the libraries to face closure

was Jesmond Library.

However, a group of residents decided to open the library on a volunteer basis.

Friends of Jesmond Library is now a limited company and registered charity. The library runs solely thanks to the efforts of the volunteers and the generous donations received from the public.

Missuswolf - Creative Writing Friends of Jesmond Library

As a lover of words and books, I wanted to do my bit to help Jesmond Library remain open so I volunteered my time and knowledge to help set up and run their Creative Writing competition. In July 2015, I launched the first competition along with members of my writing groups who took the time to perform their original works at the launch and Dan Smith.

Missuswolf Friends of Jesmond Library 2015 launch of Creative Writing comp - line-up of people

2015 Launch of Friends of Jesmond Library Creative Writing Competition

The entries were received were varied and plentiful and they certainly gave Dan and I food for thought. Dan very kindly gave up time to not only co-judge the competition but to also present awards to the lucky winners. Prizes were donated by local businesses including Caffe Z, FPP, Seven Stories and Mo Hair. The awards evening was fantastic as we got to meet the brains behind the imaginative stories we’d read. The younger writers, aged under ten, were particularly impressive.

This year, the theme of the competition is ‘Jesmond’

so your entry could be a short story in any genre.

This year also sees the inclusion of poetry so if you’d like to submit a poem to the competition, please do!

It’s £3 to enter and proceeds go to the library which receives no council funding and relies solely on volunteers. Jennifer C. Wilson, author of ‘Kindred Spirits: Tower of London’ is co-judging the competition with me.

There are categories for children and adults with fantastic prizes including book vouchers. You don’t have to be a resident of Jesmond to enter, last year saw submissions from around the world and we’re keen for the same to happen this year.

The closing date is midday on 1st of November so there is plenty of time to submit something. Good luck!

Download your entry form here.

Thanks Vic!

And best of luck to those of you who are entering.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Happy Third Birthday Blog!

SATURDAY 23rd AUGUST 2014

It’s three years ago today since I made myself comfortable on my corner sofa in our little flat, fired up the laptop and created Missuswolf’s StoryLand.

Blogging

We’d not long been back from a fabulous holiday in Mexico, where I’d been a bridesmaid to one of my best friends. Despite the high of that holiday, I’d come home to discover there was trouble in my parents’ paradise. That August, I was also in my third month of being redeployed into a job working shifts in a role that I didn’t want to be in.

Seventy ThousandBut it gave me the time to focus on my reading and writing, and so this blog really did become my world – my distraction. I’d always read books, usually a couple of chapter’s a night before bed. I found that I started to read a lot more and used books as a form of Ruby Competitionescapism.

It gave me the drive to self publish the paperback version of ‘The Ruby of Egypt’ in December 2011. The kindle version shortly followed in January 2012.

That year, I wrote the first draft of my novel ‘Little Miss Pooshoe’ in January and February, attended creative writing classes at the local high school (which became my Creative Writing Café feature), joined Melissa Foster’s Awesome Support Team #GoTeamPIF in the September and my nephew was born in the October. During all of this, the author interview feature ‘Cuppa and a Catch-Up’ was born. It was a hard year as my parents separation became final.

Go Team PIF2013 was a busy year – after eight years of waiting we finally managed to sell our flat and buy our house. This left little time for writing. It wasn’t for the want of trying – I did try to complete NaNoWriMo in the November however there was too much to do around the house and general day-to-day life got in the way. On a positive note, it gave me the makings of a Science Fiction novel ‘The Arm of Northumberland’ which is a longstanding WIP. It’s a story I need to tell as it all stemmed from an Cuppa and a Catch up picextremely vivid dream …

Oh – and Ruby’s book trailer was created in February 2013.

Ruby of Egypt Cover 2013The Ruby of Egypt was also revised and revamped with a new cover, courtesy of Carl Harvey.

The start of 2014 was a struggle as my working lifestyle really did get me down. Fast forward to August and I’ve got a new job, two new nieces, set up my own freelance writing business and I’m now ghost-writing a historic novel for a family member. My parents sold the family home yesterday and officially went their separate ways – which all seems so fitting now.

 

Life has a funny way of just falling into place.

Today, I had the wonderful surprise of meeting up with my grandparents (from Nottingham) whose mystery tour bus holiday they were on brought them to Gateshead.Freelance Bus Cards

The last three years have been a chapter of my life that have moulded me. There’s been difficult times but there has also been really good times. I’ve surrounded myself with other people’s stories by constantly immersing myself in books. Looking back I’m proud of the work that I’ve accomplished. Here’s to the next three years and what opportunities they may bring.

So thank you for reading and thank you Charity Rattiner for pointing me in the direction of wordpress.

This really has been Missuswolf’s StoryLand.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

Creative Writing Cafe: Term Three – Lesson Six – What Happened Next

WEDNESDAY 07th NOV 2012

Missuswolf Creative Writing Cafe Book and pen

I returned to class this week following the half term break and my absence at the two classes prior to that. There was no homework set for this lesson so rather than classmates having their masterpieces to read out, we were put on the spot to come up with ideas for next weeks homework.

The task set was:

* Take an existing fictional character and write about what happened to them when the story finished. We must take a character that was alive – not killed off. We can use one from a book/film/soap/drama.

The tutor gave us fifteen minutes at the desk to pool our ideas onto paper.

Well, the experience I can describe is one of instant panic, the type you are exposed to in an exam-like scenario. Where your mind blanks as everyone around you is frantically writing away, flicking through papers as you are desperately still trying to remember what your own name is. The urge is so great to take a peak at what everyone else is up to but I managed to strongly resist.

As a result, this is the utter chaos that filtered from my brain through to my hand:

* The Little Mermaid (could she have really been a man and her new husband just finds out?)

* Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games (creating an opposite called The Feast Games as to who could eat the most. A bit sadistic)

* Harry Potter

* Frodo from Lord of The Rings

* James Bond (make him gay)

* Mr Darcy (he becomes a serial killer)

I read my options out and there was a short pause as the tumbleweed blew by. I think my ideas were a bit nuts(to be polite) and this class seems to stretch into rather random loops of my imagination.

We discussed a few options and Katniss’s character was thrown about a lot; how I could write a post rebellion happy ending for her that she had always wanted then another threat looms over her. I’m also strangely drawn to Killer Darcy.

Once a character is chosen, the next thing we have to consider is:

* Do they repeat their behaviour or fight it?

I open the floor up to my readers

as to which character excites you the most.

 

Again, I have to write a story of 750 words for next week.

TO READ/WATCH

Missuswolf Creative Writing Book reading

* Gone With The Wind

* Read The Hobbit and then Lord of The Rings

* The Killing (Danish programme with subtitles currently onto 3rd series)

* The Scandal (American Politics fast moving drama)

* The Bridge (Scandinavian Subtitles)

* The House of Elliott (TV Series possibly on yesterday channel)

INTERESTING TOPICS OF CONVERSATION:

This term we are having such a laugh, the tangents we go off on and the banter thrashed around is making this a really enjoyable class, especially when someone says ‘Erotic’ when they mean Erratic…

The tutor came up with an interesting perspective; that of from the murderers point of view when we watch films/drama’s. His examples were first that of the Psycho film where the body is bundled into the car and pushed into a lake where, for a split second, it stops and doesn’t roll any further. As a viewer, you willingly want the car to keep rolling and then realise you are somehow on the side of the killer. The same happened in a Cracker episode where Robert Carlise was a shaven headed killer who took newspaper clippings of his kills. The police attended his house on suspect enquiries and walked past these clippings on the wall, all the while the viewer subconsciously willing the police not to see it. Something for me to muse over and one day write into a story…

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images from Pixabay

Happy Halloween

WEDNESDAY 31st OCTOBER 2012

Happy Halloween!

Here’s a little poem I thought I would share with you that I wrote as part of my homework for my Creative Writing Class last year. As it’s half term, the class isn’t on tonight so I will leave you with this poem.

A  Frightful Flashback

Gathering at our neighbour’s house

Bairns full of Excitement, Enchantment

Anticipation

Fright

 

Dancing, Chanting:

 

‘Its Halloween night,

Its Halloween night,

We’re going to dress up as ghosts and witches.’

 

Around the cauldron,

A table oozing with berry juice;

Pumpkin Pie

Apples

 

Letting loose:

 

‘Its Halloween night,

Its Halloween night,

We’re going to dress up as ghosts and witches.’

I will leave you with pictures of mine and the hubbys attempts at Pumpkin Carving.

 

Have a Spooktacular day everyone!

Love Missuswolf xxx

Creative Writing Cafe: Term Three – Lesson Five Man and Machine

SATURDAY 27th OCTOBER 2012

I was unable to make this weeks class but in true geek style I still completed my homework and submitted it (I love a bit of homework me!).

The theme was ‘Man and Machine’ – how we cope with technology/gadgets etc.

I must admit, I really struggled with this at first. We were given a bit more freedom in the style of how we could express this; script writing, poetry or just plain old prose.

Unusually, I opted for prose (I do like to get out of my comfort zone in writing but for some reason I stuck with prose).

Here is my homework attempt:

Man and Machine

Missuswolf Man and Machine Cars In TrafficWispy fog wrapped itself around Clara’s brand new bright pink Mini as she tapped away on her mobile phone. Stuck in traffic yet again en route to a painful job, she decided to broadcast her misery all over Facebook.

Ivan, a fellow disgruntled driver stuck alongside her, glanced across just making out Clara’s silhouette and the oh so familiar gadget in her hand. He rolled his eyes and tutted; the youth of today, hands permanently attached to mobile phones. If he had the energy he would summons up the motivation to contact the police on his hands free to report her, then considered otherwise; he would be just as bad as her using his phone.

The harassed mother in the car behind Clara was drumming her hand impatiently on the dashboard, as her blissfully unaware seven year old played away on his Nintendo DS. Mentally replaying her list of things to do over and over in her head and panicking that she would not have enough time to do this now the traffic had ground to a halt, she swooped her ipad out of her handbag and frantically started touching in notes.

Further down the road, Eric, an elderly male in a rusty robin reliant was at the front of the angry mob of drivers. The traffic light signals to the side and front of him fumed red, a colour that had blazed for more than thirty minutes now. He took off his glasses, peered through the windscreen again. Yep, despite the fog they were still red. He felt a sense of responsibility as the horns continued to honk behind him, despite this being no fault of his own.

Technology eh, he thought as he cast his mind back to the good old days when there were no traffic lights and fewer cars on the road. He then questioned were they really the good old days? Driving and having access to a car  was the one thing that kept him sane these days, allowing him to leave his poky flat and get out and about to enjoy his last few years.

A police car eventually pulled up. A burly Policeman and his slight female colleague got out and started setting up to direct traffic. Eric assumed someone must have rang them from their mobile, failing that it must have been flagged by someone monitoring one of the many cctv cameras that poked out of the buildings, spying on the streets.

A cyclist came zipping past his car, almost knocking his wing mirror off. As soon as the cyclist saw the commotion, he promptly changed his right from road user to pavement user, hopped up on to the path and continued to cycle onwards. Bloody cyclists, Eric fumed, they think they rule the road yet never abide by traffic lights, it’s like at that sudden moment they become a pedestrian. What infuriated him even more was that there were plenty of cycle paths in the town why did they have to use the road? He refused to admit it was fear that his eyesight was not what it used to be and he was in danger of one day colliding with one.

He squinted to the side of him, he could just make out through the fog a business man in a suit who was wasting no time and had set his laptop up, typing furiously away on it. The brazenness of the man astounded Eric with the police parked only yards away.

PC Aaron Shields rubbed his head as he bellowed down the radio at the controller, demanding an ETA for the Traffic Lights Engineer. He didn’t join the job to direct traffic, this wasn’t his role. He joined to catch criminals, murderers, not do a council job. He turned a blind eye at all the offences that were blatantly being committed in front of him by the bored and irritated road users. He was no jobs worth and he was not going to waste his day giving out penalty notices. Once this job was done and dusted, he was going to track down Billy Myers, who was wanted by Special Branch for infiltrating a government system. He knew he would be stepping on toes with the on-going covert investigation, but he had had a tip off that Billy was lying low at a nearby address and PC Shields arrest figures needed boosting.

The Police Officers took up their position and started directing traffic.

Back in the queue, the sound of engines coughing back into life and cars inching forward prompted the offending drivers to quickly discard their technology, particularly as they eased toward the blue flashing lights. Each driver peered curiously to see what the commotion had been about; had there been a horrendous car crash?

As the traffic started flowing, a black cab en route to the airport with an impatient passenger trundled by the Police Officers. The occupant caught a glimpse of the commotion and then quickly turned away, dabbing a bead of sweat from his forehead with his sleeve. He shook his head in frustration; Billy Myers couldn’t believe he was close to missing his getaway flight all because of some dumb traffic lights

 

Feedback

I received some good feedback on this: ‘a good panoramic sweep of frustration and misery, based on all things that are supposed to make life better for us. While gadgets should make things like traffic jams easier to bear, they somehow don’t.’

An improvement that was suggested was  along the lines of the Billy Myers character – to have in a nasty, ironic way, to end the story with him being the only character to break the mould a little and be the only one not to get frustrated. For me to show that now things are moving again, he’s still in good time for his flight and getting one over on the oblivious police; the least deserving character being the one that experiences the most happiness. Mwahaha now I do like the sound of that……

It’s half term next week so no homework (am I rather sad admitting that I am gutted about this?!)

Love Missuswolf xxx

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/358276917/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/western4uk/5609647610/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/itspaulkelly/3052868618/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrpattersonsir/273079773/

Creative Writing Cafe: Term Three – Lesson Four – Aficionado

FRIDAY 19th OCTOBER 2012

Well what a whirlwind of a few days I’ve had! Not only did my Facebook Page hit 100 likes, I went to see Chery Cole in concert, did the day job plus overtime inbetween and (best of all) I became an Auntie for the first time to a beautiful baby boy!

So sadly my writing and blogging have been neglected and I am now giving it some well deserved TLC.

I was actually absent from Wednesday’s lesson due to said Cheryl Cole concert (she was amazing! fab dance moves, beautiful costumes and she was so sincere, overwhelmed by the support by shedding a tear or two, unable to thank her fans enough.) Something she said stuck in my mind during an emotional speech she made; she said never give up on your dreams as this was hers (to play at Newcaslel Metro Radio Arena) and there she was, living it.

Despite my absence, I was a good girl though and I still submitted by homework, which was based on a description in the first person of another character, revealing traits about that first person.

Here’s my attempt:

Aficionado

My scissors slipped as I frantically cut around the glossy photograph in the magazine, narrowly missing my thumb on the other hand.

It was worth it though. The picture staring back was exquisite; strawberry blonde hair bouffant, coiffed and glossy, sweeping wispily over willowy shoulders; shoulders that I longed to run my finger along. Aquatic blue eyes reflected an alluring smile that radiated from perfectly formed rose bud lips; blood-red against porcelain skin, inviting and longing to be brushed with my own.

Still the picture did not do her splendour justice. I had met her in person before, once, many months ago, at a book signing in town. I still remember the heart palpitations, the excited sweat trickling down my back as I stepped forward into the light, placed my book down and held my hand out for her to shake. She was even more slender in the flesh and her 5’9 frame had folded perfectly on the chair in front, her long bare legs stretched out in front narrowly peeking out the front of the desk, teasingly revealing those Black Louboutin’s.

She had cast her eyes over me and then nervously stared at my overly groomed hand, glimpsing the clipped cuticles, before abruptly ignoring it. She had hastily scribbled her name in the front with her own perfectly manicured hand, her svelte fingers gripping tensely to the pen as she fought the shakes, before I could say ‘It’s Michael.’ I wanted my name in there. I wanted this book to be personally made out to me. However, the beaming eyes in the magazine picture I now held were not replicated during that encounter. If anything, they had seemed bored, almost irritant and I’m sure I saw a glimpse of disgust in them. There was no small talk, no ‘It’s so nice to meet you Michael, thanks for buying my book and sending me those flowers and letters, I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to reply, what with the busy schedule’. My response would have been hands flapping In front of me, waving off the apology and suggesting she make it up by accompanying me to dinner. This was not going as planned at all.

The sound of her clearing her throat had brought me to attention as she flung the book back, before turning to the young girl behind me. I was unable to move. Was this it? After all those letters I had written, all the times I had followed her everywhere, to make sure she was safe, to get another glimpse of that beautiful face, this was how she repaid me?

I had been ushered discreetly by a security guard to move along the line. As I’d walked off, I turned to look back; nothing. The dazzling smile had reappeared for the young girl, but only briefly. She had treated me like every other person in the world.

It was then I believed if I couldn’t have her, no-one could.

As I decided what frame would suit this wonderful portrait that now lay before me, I wiped the blood clean off the sharp knife and discarded it in the bottom drawer.  I hadn’t ruined that beautiful face; I had not touched that beautiful face. Wounds that never heal are better left unseen….

*********************************************************************************************************************

I received some good feedback regarding this. The critique was a change in the title; it was originally ‘Strike A Pose’  however the teacher couldn’t help but picture Madonna throughout. I became stuck as to what I could possibly change this to before posting on here, so I decided to type the word ‘Obsessive’ into a Word Document and bring up the thesaurus.  Aficionado  immediately caught my eye; snappy, simple, effective and relevant. 

I was also emailed next weeks homework (eeek-geek!)  Man and Machine (or gender-neutral character and machine) – how we cope with gadgets, cars, computers, robots etc. It can be done in any genre, and either as a poem, script or prose.

Hmmmm what to write …

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

Creative Writing Cafe: Term Three – Lesson’s Two and Three -UFO’s

Two posts in one for you tonight you lucky lovelies as in the chaos of last weeks Author Interviews/short story projects/homework I didn’t get a chance to update (well publish – I actually found it in draft format) Lesson Two’s post.

So without further ado this is what went down last week….

WEDNESDAY 03rd OCTOBER 2012

Tonight’s lesson was a hoot! There seemed to be fewer of us in attendance than the first week, but it made for more cosy intimate surroundings and it was a nice number to sit and chat together.

This week, we all had to take it in turns to read out our bullet points for a plot outline that was semi-autobiographical. I particularly enjoy this part of the lesson as it is always great to see what other’s interpretation of the homework is and what ideas they come up with.

It also gave a little insight into people’s lives and learn things about them, making this session a bit extra special.

We had a laugh together at some of the stories and the elaborations that were being made (or not as some were genuine events that had occurred!)

ufoMine was loosely based on a colleague’s call received in an emergency services control room regarding a strange object in the sky. Although we threw about all sorts of ideas within the class as to what it could have been, I picked out the UFO option.

This lead to the discussion about my old obsession with UFOs and an April Fool that my dad played on me when I was younger.

I won’t give too much away though …you will have to wait til next read to see what i come up with….

WEDNESDAY 10th OCTOBER 2012

Luckily you don’t get to wait that long! Tonight’s class focused on the second part of the homework that we had been set in Lesson One and was where we got to hear everyone’s ideas strung together from their plotlines and read out their short story.

I really enjoy this part as I love hearing what other people have written and the direction they have taken; it’s great how we all get the same briefing and it’s amazing to hear what different creativity is borne out of this.

Please find below my effort:

Eyes On The Skies

The Eagle’s Hotel California rocked its way through the car stereo as we sailed through the streets of Nottingham. It was a bright summers evening, not a cloud in the sky and we were returning from a family visit to my grandma’s flat back to my other grandparent’s house, where we were staying for the week.

Dad was the designated driver, face impassive as he concentrated against the heavy evening traffic and through the raised voices of my two younger sisters that were squashed in beside me, arguing over a Barbie Doll. My mum sat quietly in the passenger seat staring ahead in a world of her own. I leaned away from the squabbling siblings, pressing my face against the cool sheet of glass window, gazing into the blue sky.

night-skyMy eyes caught something glistening in the sunlight, high up where the light blue merges with the darker shade. I followed it curiously, the sun bouncing brightly off the object, preventing my young eyes from diagnosing and concluding that it was too big to be plane. At one point, it appeared to slow right down and hover; my heart did a handstand in fright and slowly keeled back over into its beat, “Have you seen that in the sky!” I exclaimed, pointing anxiously at the object.

My sisters stopped what was now a frantic struggle over the said Barbie doll, which was now in danger of decapitation, and leaned over me to catch a glimpse.

“I can’t see nothing,” announced Lori, the middle one who had self-diagnosed herself as having middle child syndrome. She squashed me further against the window as she used all her strength to lean against me, craning her neck.

“That’s a plane silly,” said the youngest, Sarah, so matter of factly and with a tone that insinuated I was the thickest person on the planet.

I turned my attention to my parents, “Mum! Dad! Can you see that in the sky? What is it?”

“Your dad’s driving, he can’t look,” was my mother’s curt reply. Dad said nothing for a while, before agreeing with Sarah, “It will just be a plane.”

I sunk back in my seat. I knew what I had seen and it was no plane.

Since the age of seven, I had had a morbid fascination with UFO’s. Ever since I was made to listen to Orson Well’s ‘War of The World’s at school, I had been terrified yet intrigued by the possibility of life on another planet. I remember that day so vividly; we sat on the rough classroom carpet, compressed against the tables and chairs and other pupils – and listened. Our topic was the solar system and the teacher thought it would be a great idea to listen to this as part of the studies.

How wrong she could have been. My imagination let loose at the words that cascaded from the player; mixed up with the images from the sleeve of the cassette tape and I had managed to freak myself out. I walked home from school with my friends and upon passing a play park, I will never forget turning around behind me imagining being chased by one of those spaceships. I ran home.

Straight away my parents knew something was up; I had managed to wind myself up so much that hysterical sobs escaped from my chest as I ran off to bed. When my parents scuttled in, it got worse. My mum was trying to soothe me as my dad proudly produced a vinyl record from behind his back, “Do you mean this?” he smiled.

My eyes bulged and panic swept me, “It’s-it’s in the house?!” I stammered. From that moment on I teased myself by occasionally pulling the vinyl out the cupboard to look at the pictures, freaking myself out, and my eyes remained firmly on the skies.

The morning after said UFO sighting, I skipped into my grandma’s kitchen, my encounter forgotten, and soothing sounds of Radio 2 coming from the stereo. As my grandma fixed up my breakfast, my dad put down his paper that he was reading at the kitchen table, “you know that object you saw last night?”

Fear returned with a pounding as if I had just been rammed by a bull. All I could manage was a slow nod.

“Well, it was on the news before that it’s landed, at Wollaton Park.”

I froze. My mouth had dried to that of the bottom of a desert lake, one I wanted to pool with my tears.

“They have it surrounded,” my dad continued, “The army and their tanks are guarding it. They are saying nothing has come out yet, but they say it’s only a matter of time.”

All sorts of images swirled around my mind; from what this spaceship looked like to the armoured grey and green army tanks to what lay deep inside this UFO.

I don’t think my dad could take the look of sheer panic on my face any longer as his face crumpled into a smile and he laughed, “April Fools Day!”

I slumped relieved onto the chair opposite him, as my grandma placed my breakfast in front of me. She just smiled and went back to the dishes.

As I shovelled a mouth full of corn flakes in, the news broadcaster came onto the radio.

“An Unidentified Flying Object has landed at Wollaton Hall, the army currently have it surrounded…” my eyes shot up from my breakfast to my dad’s face. Only this time, it was his turn for his eyes to be the size of saucers,…. to be full of panic….

Lessons Learnt Tonight

* Avoid clichés (this seems to rear its head every term)

* OCD – one of the classmates described one of her character’s as having this and a discussion ensued over that annoying situation where you leave your house and your mind pipes up ‘did you lock the door/blow the candle out/turn straighteners off? One solution of this was to take pictures of things like this that you do on autopilot so you can look at them and reassure yourself that you did indeed turn those straighteners off….

Homework

* First person writing: I did this/I did that

* Describing another character written in the first person by your character

* Description to reveal as much about the character as it does about the person they are talking about

* Emotional response in the first person to reveal a character trait such as jealousy/in love

* Minimum 500 words

I am super excited about this homework! I can’t wait to get stuck in.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images from Unsplash and Pixabay

 

 

Creative Writing Cafe: Term Three – Lesson One

WEDNESDAY 26th SEPTEMBER 2012

Good Evening Ladies and Gents.

Today saw my return to the Creative Writing Class that is held weekly at the local High School. It runs for the next ten weeks and quite frankly, I can not contain my excitement!

Have you ever seen that episode of Friends where Monica goes with Phoebe to an evening literature class (titled The One with Ross’s Sandwich) You can watch a clip here (The Monica part starts at 4.57) Well, I’m not on the extreme level that Monica is demanding pop questions, but I do share her enthusiasm. So much so, I could not wait until the end (not for the class to be over – oh no) but because our homework assignments get handed out! True Geek!

The first half of this class was a bit of an ice breaker – a round robin of the table where you introduced yourself, what you wanted out of the class and what you had been reading. I loved this bit as I love getting to know people and I love learning about  fellow class mates. This term, there are no Y Chromie’s (apart from the teacher) – it’s a full on Ladies at Literature.

One of the women in the class informed us all that she had a condition called Dyspraxia. I had never heard of this and I was relieved when someone else piped up and asked her about this. She explained that it was a condition that affects the planning of movements and co-ordination. She explained she had difficulty remembering the next movement in a sequence and that it causes her to be clumsy; falling over or bumping into people. She also explained it made her quite naïve. Her goal was to be able to write about her experience, not only for herself but for others who have the condition. It was really admirable listening to her as she wants to put a positive spin on it; showing others with he condition what they can do and bringing awareness to it

I made a note to google this and I have located details about it here.

FROM THIS SESSION – ADDITIONS TO MY TO READ LIST:

* The Forsyte Saga – John Galsworthy

* Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities – both by Charles Dickens

HOMEWORK

This weeks homework is a two parter and is studying Semi Autobiographical writing; where you draw on your own experience and bring imagination to it (Miss Pooshoe certainly springs to mind).

We looked at two writer’s who appear to have written semi-autobiographical books; Charles Dickens David Copperfield and Ernest Hemingway A Farewell To Arms.

The first part that we need to have ready for next weeks class is ‘Plot Outline’:

* 1 page of bullet points of the beginning, middle and end

* Draw from a real experience (whether it be your own/family/friend)

* Add fictional bits to it

* Take it in a different direction to what happened in real life

We will then discuss as a class and then pick a scene that makes up part two of the homework assignment; which has to be written in approx 750 words to read out at class the week after.

Hmmm now which of my ridiculous real life experiences should I pick and how to elaborate on them (I somehow don’t think much elaboration will be necessary)…..

Love Missuswolf xxx

Geek Club – Term Two – Lesson Five: Coincidences and Happy Endings

 

 

WEDNESDAY 19th OCTOBER 2011

Missuswolf Geek Club

Tonight’s lesson I didn’t seem to enjoy as much as the previous ones; I think it was because I was night shift and had to go to work afterwards, plus I had  a bit of a headache niggling boooo.

TOPIC

We managed to fit most of the class’s homework in, bar two of them. There was a varied interpretation across the class as to what the homework entailed; some writing a couple of pages of an actual story, some not involving three characters and some unsure of what object was the focus of their story as they included more than one. At first, I thought I hadn’t done enough, it turns out I had done what was required. The majority of the class used either the glass or the book.

I was the only one who chose the gun.

The feedback came in the form of the following ideas:

* DNA on the gun could be traced back to Taylor Morgan then traced back to the pawn shop then Mrs Bertram

* Consider the legalities of weapons and pursue this aspect in the story

* Find out that the deceased Mr Bertram has been involved in various Serious and Organised Crimes over the years and this leads to the recovery of the house his widow now lives in as part of Proceeds of Crime

* Mr Bertram could actually be killed by someone else who had the gun

* children playing with the gun could be relatives of Mr Bertram (however this could be too much of a coincidence – see below about coincidences)

* Why is Taylor running away from the police – explore and expand this

* What kind of gun? Could it be a small handbag gun so it is small enough and not too heavy so that the child Abigail is able to lift it and believes it more so as a toy? Handbag gun? In that case it could be more linked to Mrs Bertram than her husband.

 

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT TODAY

* Can’t have coincidences

* Happy endings have to be earned, not jammed onto the end of the story

 

BOOKS TO READ

 

* This week it was a film: Adrian Brody – The Pianist

 

HOMEWORK

No homework this week woohoo as it is half term next week so we are off

Love Missuswolf xxx

Creative Writing Cafe Term Two – Lesson Four: Three’s Up

SUNDAY 16th OCTOBER 2011

This homework was much easier than last week’s Shakespeare modernisation, so much so that I had the below done within half an hour on a Friday night (wild!) This was so much fun; having to pick an object and take a reader through the stories of three character’s who have been involved with that object.

Straight away I was drawn to the gun (a psycho-analyst could have a field day on that one).

Missuswolf Geek Club Gun

I have to provide a one page summary of a longer piece of writing that involves these characters.

I thought I would share with you the ideas I have so far….

* Mrs Bertram, a distraught widow, is cleaning out her deceased husband’s property when she comes across a gun. Unsure what to do with it, she takes it to her local corrupt (unknown to her) pawn shop and sells it there. Mr Dayle, the owner, has always been good to Mrs Bertram (little did she know he was involved in sinister criminal activity with her husband hence the gun) he therefore is only too pleased to take the gun back off her.

* Taylor Morgan buys the gun from Mr Dayle at the pawn shop. He is chased by police officers shortly afterwards after an incident and throws the gun into a nearby bush whilst being chased. The police are unaware he ever had a gun and therefore don’t look for it

* Abigail Lynch is a seven year old out playing with her friends. Her older brother, Ross, who she idolizes, is also out with his mates but as he is older, he thinks he is too cool for his little sister and makes fun of her. Whilst playing with her friend, she finds the gun in a bush. She doesn’t think it is real and starts waving it around. She shouts at Ross, trying to look big and clever and impress him. She waves it around and points it at her brother, a shot is fired – seriously injuring him, leaving his life in the balance.

I debated killing the brother off, but then felt that it took away a bit of the reader interest so to speak, hooking them in with ‘will he/won’t he live’. The story could start with this accident and then re-tell of how it came to this – the reader finding out the fate of the accident at the end of the book.

It could narrate in the following ways:

  • By the little girl when she is older looking back
  • Through a Police Officer’s eyes doing the investigation, discovering along the way that they made an error with the incident with Taylor Morgan when Officers weren’t aware he had a gun. This could spark a serious investigation where Officers are suspended.
  • Through the ghost of Mr Bertram looking down on the journey of the gun

Love Missuswolf xx